The Rays just completed a three game sweep of the hated rival New York Yankees and also nearly sold out Tropicana Field for all three dates, drawing about 98K fans or about 97% capacity. This sounds wonderful and on the surface it is.
Stu Sternberg has for several years lobbied that he'd like to see the Rays draw 2.5 million fans into Tropicana Field. This is a pipedream for a venue that considers a sellout at 34K. If the Rays sold out all 81 scheduled games this season the most they'd draw would be under 2.8 million fans. That means that getting to Stu's goal of 2.5 million they would have to avrage 30K+ per game or 4K less than capacity.
This all brings me to the point of this article. Why didn't Stu petition MLB to open the upper deck which I believe can swell the capacity by about 10K. My theory is there are probably at least 25 dates on the schedule where a sell out of 44K is possible. Now it doesn't take a math major or a statistical genius to figure out that's about 240K fans that now have to be made up for in the other 56 dates. Those dates include weekday/night games versus Oakland, Seattle, Toronto, Kansas City. Get the picture?
All I'm saying is at 34K the Trop is too small to envision a season where more than 2 million fans will visit, and just maybe Stu could have helped his cause. I believe the Oakland A's are the only other team where this comes into play so I don't think MLB would have an issue with it.